It’s been a week since the passing of legendary Mexican singer-songwriter and icon Alberto Aguilera Valadez, better known by his stage name Juan Gabriel or nickname Juanga. It’s taken me this long to put to pen and paper these words because he meant the world to me. As a little girl my mother and I would set aside the weekends to clean our two-bedroom Washington Heights apartment but not without blasting the stereo and filling our home with the songs of Juan Gabriel. I’d sweep along to “Querida” and “Noa Noa” and even use the broom as my microphone to belt out some of his most iconic songs.
In 2014 years after attending many of his concerts I tweeted to the icon my love for him and his music and to my surprise he responded with a “like” and follow and so began our Twitter friendship. I’d tweet random musings that he’d often like or retweet and it always surprised and delighted me.
Two weeks ago Juan Gabriel kicked off a twenty-two-city tour, “MéXXIco Es Todo 2016”. More popular than ever, he was selling out in city after city. I had planned to attend his October Barclays show but unfortunately on August 28, 2016 it was reported that Gabriel had died from a heart attack earlier that day in Santa Monica, California.
CMN President Henry Cardenas, whose staff I worked closely with throughout the years and was fortunate enough to attend many of Gabriel’s concerts as his guest or member of the press, released the following statement:
“It is with great sadness that we learned early yesterday of the passing of our friend, colleague and creative partner, the great Juan Gabriel. For more than three decades it has been our privilege to produce the onstage creative vision of one of the most extraordinary talents the world has ever seen. Everything Juan Gabriel did, he did from his heart. He was a man of compassion and generosity in his music, in his charitable works and also in his live performances, where he felt compelled to give back to his audiences for the love they had shown him. He was also a loving father and grandfather and we hope fans and media will grant his family time to grieve in private,” Henry Cardenas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cardenas Marketing Network, Inc.
Juan Gabriel’s son Ivan Aguilera released this statement: “My father’s untimely passing is a tragic loss for all of us, his family, colleagues, and fans alike. We give heartfelt thanks for the outpouring of condolences we have received from around the world including from President Enrique Pena Nieto. We know that our father will miss entertaining his countless fans, who brought him tremendous joy in life.”
Fans who have purchased tickets for upcoming shows may request refunds at Ticketmaster.com or their point of purchase.
I’m still in shock. After he followed me on Twitter in 2014 I joked that he and I were now friends and he liked and retweeted that. I’m honored and humbled to have been in his presence and for him to know that I was a fan and loved him.
Mi corazón está destrozado, su música vivirá para siempre. Querido, este amor por ti es eterno.